After towing the remains of a sunken luxury yacht off a beach in Queensland (Australia) last month, the authorities are still unclear who will pay the bill, as no one is responsible for the boat , which has a checkered past.
According to the Yeppoon City Coast Guard, the vessel was removed from a local marina on May 11 for not being registered, and for that reason at The next day they anchored her off the coast. Due to bad weather, the superyacht was washed up on a rocky shoreline in the south. However, the anchor lost control, the boat drifted and eventually sank into the ocean. The maritime teams rescued a person in charge of taking care of the boat and towed the yacht to safer waters.
For several weeks, the inhabitants of the area angrily demanded that the authorities take action stop towing the boat, as its remains and garbage were scattered along the beach. “People in the area have had to go out and clean it up, so this ship is wreaking havoc now and we need it to go away,” Keppel MP Brittany Lauga said. to ABC.
However, authorities said it had been quite difficult for the contractors to tow the 27 meter long yacht and its remains. “Because of where it ended up, on the beach, the tides limited it. So we had to work between tides, which restricted our daily activity,” said the director general of Maritime Safety Queensland (MSQ for its acronym). in English), Kell Dillon, adding that heavy machinery had to be brought in from another city to dismantle the ship.
No one came forward to claim ownership of the ship. But the accusations did not wait. “This could not happen to a less nice person”, said Richie Cunningham, who was captain of the boat, to his followers on Facebook (social network prohibited on Russian territory, owned by the Meta company, classified as an “extremist organization” in Russia). “This is karma in action”, he added.
The parties of Gold Coast
The hint went to Jamie McIntyre, a businessman known for throwing lavish parties in Surfers Paradise, a posh suburb in the city of Gold Coast. In 2016, a Federal Court judge banned McIntyre from running companies for 10 years, after it was discovered that he had managed five illegal investment schemes, which cost 7 million Australian dollars (4, 8 million dollars), to 152 investors.
The businessman has been linked to the sunken superyacht, but he flatly denies being its current owner. “It was owned by a ship syndicate”, declared McIntyre to ABC Capricornia. “Mostly foreign owners who do not live in Australia” , he noted. He also said that he had owned it and was buying it back, as “shareholders wanted to sell it once their business study for shipping was completed.” He further revealed that he had plans to purchase it as “a wedding present”.
Captain Cunningham said who worked for McIntyre a decade ago, when he organized luxury cruises around the Gold Coast with a ship known as ‘Livin’ I’. “There were a lot of young revelers in bikinis, and Jamie and his friends were having a great time . And all of that is wonderful. But where I put the limit was overloading the boat,” the captain said. “It’s not feasible to have 30 or 40 people trying to climb all over a 58-foot (5.3-square-meter) sports cruiser,” he added.
Furthermore, Cunningham revealed that the sunken ship was called ‘Livin’ II’ and that it was not the first time that it had problems.”It is well known, especially on the Gold Coast, as a ship that had already got stuck under the Sundale Bridge, and was then very unceremoniously towed away.”
The ‘ influencer’ and the ‘Colombian playboy’
McIntyre married Brisbane influencer and businesswoman Nadine Roberts, who claims to also be a journalist, in May.The couple have appeared as speakers and performers at various events promoting anti-vaccine ideas.
Two days before the superyacht sank, a company called Boat Syndicate was registered in the name of Roberts. r of the company is listed as Alejandro Mendieta Blanco, buyer of luxury goods and self-styled “Colombian playboy”, who was jailed in 2020 for receiving stolen gold jewelry and a Louis Vuitton bag.
However, McIntyre denies that Boat Syndicate owns the I already. “Boat Syndicate was a company created to buy it. But since it sank, the sale obviously cannot take place”, McIntyre pointed out.
Another company known as Boat Swap Syndicate, listed with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, has been flagged by a former shareholder as the owner of the sunken yacht. The company was closed in February and both Mendieta and Roberts were shareholders, the latter was even the secretary and director of the company.
“Dark web of shipping”
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) reported that a previous company linked to McIntyre was fined A$20,000 ($13,800) at Southport Magistrates Court in 2020 for chartering the vessel without an operating or inspection certificate. At the time, AMSA said that authorities were alerted to the operation “after a paying passenger died of a health problem during a cruise on December 31, 2018”.
In a statement, the MSQ said it was continuing to investigate the situation, along with AMSA. “Owners are always responsible for maintaining their boats or removing them from Queensland waters when they become unseaworthy,” he said.
However, Ian Bray, national coordinator for the International Federation of Transport Workers, said ownership of international ships in Australian waters was turbulent. “There is no regulation”, affirms Bray.
The official also pointed out that, often, Ships are registered under shell companies in tax havens, making it difficult for authorities to know who really owns and is responsible for them. “It’s the other darknet, the darknet of shippingIt’s a global problem that governments need to start paying attention to,” added Bray.